Democracy, Consensus or Delegates

Submitted by admin on Sat, 08/27/2016 - 21:17

There are 3 main ways of organising and governing groups, communities, charities and even countries

They all have their advantages and problems





Democracy – the electors (people qualified to vote) all get a vote, and voting is done by secret ballot – the winner wins

It’s quick simple, traditional and soon over with.

The “losers” may sabotage the “winners” and the winners may exploit the losers, so resentment, mistrust and divisions build up.
Campaigning and lobbying can raise doubts about honesty.

Consensus – group process among the qualified people continues until a way forward is found that is either agreed or accepted by everyone

Once agreed, the decision should move forward smoothly with 100% support

Can be extremely slow, but improves with practice and trust builds up

Delegates. The qualified people choose one of their number as their representative to a “higher” body

The person is delegated to “do their best” and represent the interests of the members and to report back – there are high levels of trust

The delegate may be subverted and the agenda of the higher meeting may not allow them to speak or raise the issues.



  • Qualified – there is always a need to work out who is qualified to join in – who has a voice in a process. Local councils have special departments to produce registers of voters. Other organisations define their own membership in their own ways.
  • Trust – trust is a major issue in all of this
  • Agendas – the agenda process can be described in a range from “tightly controlled” to “open to issues raised at the time”
  • The tragedy of democracy is that no matter who you elect, thay always become a politician. There seems to be no way round this.

Hybrid Systems

The British system is in fact hybrid –

  • our Members of Parliament are technically delegates from their geographical constituencies, and have a duty to sort out problematic interactions between their constituents and the Government administrators where injustices and problems arrise, and this is generally seen as their “job” and not a as party political issue at all.  They also attend events and liaise with local leaders in their constituency. In theory they take in all the ideas from their constituency and represent that constituency in the parliament
  • However, they are mostly elected on the basis of a party manifesto, and they are thus either part of the governing party or part of the opposition, and so they usually also take a full part in the oppositional party politics, which usually operated by block votes, but sometimes free (democratic) voting happens in Parliament on “issues of conscience”.
  • Some of them also take on other roles – getting involved with business, charities or professional bodies  

A Wisdom System. Nobody ever discusses this (and/or everyone is locked into the current way of thinking) but, in all of these systems, what is the basis for our choices. We seem compelled to alsways choose between representatives of different social groups, usually business vs workers, or traditionalists vs progressives. These are "dressed up as" political parties. Would it not be better to choose the wisest person in our neighbourhood, who would meet with people from the nearest neighbourhoods to choose the wisest person from amongst themselves, and so on until we reach the government level ??